As we start to really think about our wellbeing as a culture we’ve started to incorporate wellness in travels, two words you would rarely hear together before 2004. Before then Wellness was typically used to describe a spa experience.
I was lucky enough to be able to experience some of the wellness offerings at Hilton Aruba, one of the 10 hotel resorts that Hilton has to offer in the Caribbean. It was my first visit to Aruba and although I didn’t have much time to plan for this trip there were plenty of things to do on the hotel property and in the surrounding area that gave me a chance to explore and fulfill all the areas of my personal wellness journey that’s important to me.
Wellness + Travel
According to the Wellness Tourism Association Wellness Travel pillars include: healthy food, fitness activities, and nature. Three basics that Hilton Aruba is starting to offer for their guests. Sometimes all it takes to kick start or sustain one’s wellness journey are small things like offering a group fitness class, introducing healthier eating options, or teaching someone a simple self care practice that they can do at home. Small steps always leads to more sustainable lifestyle changes.
Hilton Aruba’s Wellness Activities
Hilton Aruba offered a variety of different activates that one could participate in to jumpstart their wellness journey. Located by the pool area is the Hilton Aruba activity center where they have post all the activities offered throughout the week. These activities were complimentary to the guests. Some activities included: pool volleyball, a variety of different yoga classes, bike tours, and stand up paddle boarding. Linked here is a full listing of their Wellness Journeys activity program.
One of the activities that I took full of advantage of was stand up paddle board. The first time I tried stand up paddle board was on Global Wellness Day. I definitely wanted to try SUP in the beautiful Caribbean Sea. Stand up paddle board can seem extremely intimidating at first, I know that it was my first impression of it. It’s a great full body work out that focuses a lot on your core strength to stay balanced while standing on the paddle board on top of the water! If you’re in water conditions that have lots of wind currents or waves created by boats you’ll have resistance to work with which is a great challenge for the body!
The bike tour that Hilton Aruba offers is another way to stay active on your vacation. Bike tours are offered first thing in the morning to avoid the harsh Aruba sun. It’s a 4 mile bike ride starting from the resort property making stops along the way until you reach California Lighthouse. California Lighthouse is located on the northwestern tip of the island. One of Aruba's most famous landmarks, the California lighthouse is known for its spectacular views of the island. It's open to the public to climb up to the highest look out point and enjoy panoramic 360 views of Aruba's most northern point. The lighthouse is named for the U.S ship - the California - which sunk about two years previous to its construction in 1910.
Other wellness activities that were offered were a variety of different yoga classes from hatha, pranayama, chair yoga. I personally love working out by myself since it’s time I carve out for myself, but for those who are just starting their journey group classes can be a great way to introduce something new to one’s workout routine.
One thing that I really enjoyed doing at the Hilton Aruba was making my own Aloe body scrub. I’m obsessed with skincare and taking care of my skin has been top priority over the past two years. Aloe was introduced to Aruba in 1840 and became one of their main sources of welfare. Aloe has so many incredible wellness properties and helps nurture your over all health and wellbeing of your skin. It’s essential for protecting the skin from the harsh desert climates of Aruba.
Healthy Meal Options at Hilton Aruba
When I started my health journey back in 2013 I rarely travelled mostly because as I mentioned wellness and travel was such a new concept for our culture. It’s evolved so much since then and Hilton Aruba is taking strides to make sure that they offer healthier options to properly fuel you for all your adventures. There are several dining options at Hilton Aruba. Laguna Restaurant offers full American buffet style breakfast that has the typical buffet fare and offers fresh fruit smoothies and an omelette station to make a healthy egg white omelette.
Sunset Grille is a modern steakhouse that has the best views of the sunset while enjoying a high end dining dinner experience. They have a large selection of seafood and simple green side options which is the healthier option I prefer. They have plenty of gluten free and vegetarian dining options and are able to make any adjustments to fit your dietary needs.
Gilligan's Seafood Shack became one of my favorite places to dine while staying at Hilton Aruba, mostly because it was right along the beach and I was able to quickly get back to my palapa after a meal. Fish tacos are a definite must as well as both the veggie burger and Gilligan’s Island Burger. Cocktails were tasty too!
Happy Hours were best at Mira Sol Bar which was located right outside of the hotel and casino lobby where Aruban sunsets were the most worthwhile if you were on the property and not beachside. Every day between Hilton Aruba hosted a happy hour between 2PM - 4PM in a modern chic space.
Other Wellness Accommodations
Like most resorts, Hilton Aruba offers a spa and 24 hour gym access. The gym is pretty well stocked with a fair amount of cardio equipment and more than enough workout machines to get a full body workout in. For those who love weights like me, their gym set up is great to keep you on your weekly workout routine.
The eforea Spa offers a number of spa treatments to help you relax and sink into your vacation. I received the Aloe Vera Massage which my skin needed from all the hours spent under the sun. My therapist was kind and accommodating to all my needs and I think I caught myself snoring a few times during my massage!
Nice to Know
Hilton Aruba is located on Palm Beach and is considered the best beach on the island. Right outside the resort is 12 acres of white sand and crystal blue waters. The waters are calm and perfect for families with small children and for swimmers of every skill level. Hilton Aruba is also conveniently located near shopping and other dining options if you’re wanting to step out of the resort. Just in front of the resort is a Palm Beach Plaza Mall which has a variety of dining options and nightlife if you’re looking for a change of pace or different adventure.
One night Rachel and I decided to head out to check out the different dining options and stumbled upon Lola Taqueria. Lola is an authentic Mexican taqueria in the heart of Aruba's Palm Beach. Sharing a nice little spot with sister bar Craft. The tacos were amazing and it was a cozy little spot that reminded us so much of restaurants her and I love to eat at back home in both Northern and Southern California.
Another fun place to check out right outside of Hilton Aruba is Palm Beach where you’ll find little businesses offering water sport activities, a lively bar scene, and a gem we discovered Eduardo’s Beach Shack where we ordered Acai Bowls one morning and came back for Poke Bowls in the afternoon.
My overall thoughts on Hilton Aruba
I can never complain about a tropical getaway! The sun, sea, and salt air is something my soul requires for rejuvenation and it’s the perfect reset for any busy person. The service at Hilton Aruba was extremely friendly and all the staff members were helpful and kind. Someone even helped navigate me directly to my room because I got lost upon arrival since the property is fairly large. The hotel resort and casino was extremely clean! I never saw trash on the beach or pool area which made me so happy to see that they cared that deeply about cleanliness. All the activities started promptly on time so don’t be late or you might miss out. The Curacao tower resort view bedroom suite - 1 King bed was the one I stayed in. Personally I love a resort room that’s located on the first floor because of the outdoor patio that allows you to access the room easily without entering the building. The Bonaire tower suites include a mini fridge in room in case you want to store fresh juices, salads, or leftovers for a mid day snack attack.
Palapa life is all the rage at the Hilton Aruba and I was obsessed. I mean you can’t go wrong spending your morning and afternoon underneath a cute little palapa with the crystal blue ocean water in front of you. Make sure that you reserve the beach and pool palapa’s ahead of time. Most guests book the palapas before arrival, but you still have the chance to get one as they start giving out unassigned beach palapas at 10AM. Rentals start at $45, but if you take your chance on standby like we did you can snag one for free!
Being from California I’m really spoiled with having Hawaii as our neighbor just a little over 5 hours away. Aruba is one of those easy tropical destinations for someone who lives in the Southern US States or on the East Coast. If you’re looking for a quiet simple island getaway, Aruba is definitely a destination that accommodate that. Overall, the Hilton Aruba is a great resort. It’s clean, the staff is friendly and helpful, and there are a variety of different wellness offerings available on site. It's awesome to see properties like this starting to really think about their guest’s wellbeing and integrate experiences to help inspire and empower a wellness focused lifestyle. I’m looking forward to them continuing to evolve their Wellness Journeys into a more robust wellness program over time.
Hilton Aruba was incredible enough to send me on this trip in exchange for a review in exchange to write this post, all the opinions are 100% my own and I always keep it real.